Embassy of Japan
Press Release
November 3rd, 2010


Conferral of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette upon Dr. Thomas S. Elias, the Former Director of the U.S. National Arboretum


On November 3, 2010 the Government of Japan announced the foreign recipients of the 2010 Fall Imperial Decorations.  Among 58 recipients, Dr. Thomas S. Elias, Former Director of the U.S. National Arboretum and the Senior Executive Service for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, received the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette in recognition of his significant career contributions in the enhancement of goodwill and understanding between Japan and the United States.


Dr. Elias joined the U.S. National Arboretum in 1993 after working as a Director of the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in California and at the same time, served as Chairman of the Department of Botany at the Claremont Graduate School in Claremont, California. His work as Director of the Arboretum was recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman with a Presidential Rank Award as a Meritorious Executive (2000). 


Dr. Elias has a number of publications to his credit, such as The Complete Trees of North America, Field Guide and Natural History (1980), Field Guide to North American Edible Wild Plants (1983), Illustrated Guide to Street Trees (1981), The Biology of Nectaries (1983), and Experience in Introduction and Conservation of Plants in the USSR and the U.S. (1992).  Because of his distinguished accomplishments throughout his career, he was honored by the American Society of Plant Taxonomists with the Cooley Award, and the New York Botanical Garden with a Distinguished Service Award.  He also received Distinguished Alumnus Award from Southern Illinois University.


Dr. Elias holds a doctorate in Biology from St. Louis University with a dissertation on the taxonomic study of genus of plants in the coffee family, and a master’s and bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University.